The Million Dollar Question for Businesses involved in Social Media

In his book, “The Brand Gap”*, Marty Neumeier, raises three questions that any company/brand should be able to answer:

1)      Who are you?

2)      What do you do?

3)      Why does it matter?

The first two questions seem fairly easy to answer on first glance; after all everyone knows who the company is they work for and what they do. However, half baked answers to these questions can lead to dangerous waters on the third question.

And the third question is often a killer to answer, at least in any meaningful way to a customer or prospective customer. The simple truth is that the way most respondents would answer this question is often not very compelling, or very differentiating. A convenience store that is open 24 hours a day is not very exciting today, especially if they seldom have the selection I want; likewise an office supply store or wholesaler who delivers.

When in a social media context, this lack of identity and purpose is potentially a fatal flaw: People will seldom spend much time with a person, much less a brand that does not provide value to them. That value can be economic, social, psychological, or emotional, but it must be there to avoid being turned off.

An even bigger issue arises when a brand is found not to just be dense, but also not authentic. Trust is the quality a brand must bring to the table to even get the opportunity to answer the three questions in the first place. Gaining attention in social media through a breach of trust can lead to a difficult situation. In the electronic world, the old saw of “any publicity is good publicity” wears a little thin.

It is even more important under these circumstances to be able to answer the three questions above (at least in your mind) as they will direct the best responses for authenticity under fire. Find your identity today…it can be a bit off key, but it must be what you will voluntarily stand for day in and day out.

* a very worthwhile read, by the way, for those who haven’t yet …

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